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Jamaica News - Real Estate - General (February 15, 2005)
New immigration rules announced by Britain
THE United Kingdom (UK) government has announced new immigration and asylum regulations, some of which are likely to affect Jamaicans living, studying or planning to migrate to that country.

The new regulations, over time, will include the fingerprinting of all who apply for a visa.

Home Secretary in the UK, Charles Clarke, who outlined the Government's five-year strategy for asylum and immigration last week, said it sets out a wide-ranging plan to ensure that only those who were eligible could work or study there, and that it would crack down on abuse and illegal immigration.

The new immigration strategy include:

 A new points system for persons applying to work or study in the UK: the scheme will consist of four new tiers - highly skilled, skilled, low skilled and student/specialist (such as football players). Points will be adjusted to respond to changes in Britain's labour market.

Financial bonds, where necessary, for specific categories where there has been evidence of abuse. This will be refundable only on return to country of origin.

Ending chain migration by limiting family migration: this brings to an end the practice where immigrants in the UK can bring in their dependents, who can, in turn, sponsor other family members.

Ending appeals: the Government has already reduced the number of times an asylum seeker can appeal against a decision, and will now extend this to migration routes by abolishing appeals for those seeking to enter the UK to work or study.

Clarke said while the UK recognised that tourists, students and migrant workers make a vital contribution to the UK economy, his government needed to ensure that "we let in migrants with the skills and talents to benefit Britain, while stopping those trying to abuse our hospitality and place a burden on our society."

Under the new regime, there will be no automatic right to stay in the UK for lower skilled workers and students. They will have to leave when their visas expire.

Only skilled workers who support themselves financially can apply to stay permanently after five years, an increase on the current four, and they will be required to speak and write English.

Clarke said that as part of the continued drive against illegal workers, the Government would introduce a 2,000 fixed penalty fine for employers for each illegal worker.

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